Love at Every Turn

Life took some terribly unexpected turns for Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit.  They turned away from God.  God turned them out of the garden.  Adam turned the soil.  Paradise turned into a life of hardship and struggle.  Nothing turned out the way the serpent had said; Adam and Eve did not turn into gods.

In a world turned upside down, though, some things never changed at all. The earth still turned.  The sun still shone.  The birds still sang.  Man’s work was not in vain.  The fields he planted were fruitful.  God remained ever present.  Most importantly, God still loved His people.

Henry Francis Lyte was a minister in England during the early 1800s.  His life was filled with unexpected twists and turns, too.  His father abandoned the family when he was a young boy, and at the age of nine his mother passed away.  Over the years he battled lung disease, finally succombing to tuberculosis at the age of 54.

Despite the harsh turns that he experienced during his life, though, the love of God was present with him always.  As a child he learned prayers and listened to Bible stories from his mother.  After her death, the headmaster of Portora Royal School took him in and nurtured not only his education, but his faith.  His final parish on the south coast of England was in a fishing town that shared fellowship with him during life and honored his ministry after his death.

His most famous hymn, Abide with Me, has been a source of inspiration and comfort to Christians for nearly two centuries.  An evening hymn, it plumbs the deepest thoughts of God’s abiding presence.  Ponder the words of this verse:

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

There will be many, many turns on our journey to the foot of the cross.  Know that God’s abiding love and presence will be with you every step of the way.

Follow the Path!

[Use with Cast Out, but Never Abandoned, day 11 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]

Posted in Thoughts about the Journey | Comments Off on Love at Every Turn

Recognized by God

After Adam and Eve sinned they heard God in the garden.  Instead of greeting their Creator and enjoying perfect fellowship, they hid.  They hid from God by running away.  They hid their bodies with awkward, itchy, fig-leaf garments.  They hid their thoughts by evading God’s questions.  They could not recognize God’s image in themselves.  They cloaked themselves and could not recognize each other.  Worst of all, they could not even recognize God’s love.

Of course, none of their hiding fooled God.  He knew where to find Adam and Eve.  He still knew them.  He still loved them.  Even when they could not recognize themselves, God recognized them perfectly.

Charlotte Elliott wrote the well known hymn Just As I Am, Without One Plea.  One evening she struggled with the reality of her spiritual life.  Her inner struggle continued the next day, so she focused on the “great certainties” of her salvation, set pen to paper, and recorded what she called “the formulae of her faith.”  Consider these words:

Just as I am, thy love unknown
hath broken every barrier down;
now, to be thine, yea thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

God recognized Adam and Eve just as they were.  He recognized Charlotte Elliott just as she was.  He recognizes you and me, too, just as you are, and just as I am.

Take comfort in knowing that today and every day, God recognizes you on your journey.

Follow the Path!

[Use with Together in Hiding, but All Alone, day 10 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]

Posted in Thoughts about the Journey | Comments Off on Recognized by God